So yesterday was my birthday! The day started out with lessons aboard Pastrocito, Twilight, Silene and Vitroso. I had some difficulties intially with Pastrocito-- I have trouble finding and setting a good pace on the horses, and like Martin (and my coaches at home, Mike & Charlene) always say... you often have to do the opposite of what the horse wants. So Pastrocito wanted to slug back and mess around crowhopping and going slow... once Martin got on and showed me what he did with a lot more pace, I realised that my method of trying to fix the problem (ie, clamping on his mouth and pumping with my seat) was only exacerbating the problem. "When they mess around and play behind your leg, you are going too slow... when they scramble to make the fence and try to slow themselves down, you're going too fast!" I didn't have that problem, at least!
The problem was really similar with the next horse, Twilight. Finding the right pace has always been an issue for me-- it's so elusive! It appears to be the pace just a notch above the one I'm comfortable on... However, once I managed to relax and allow the horse forward, the short course we were working over was very good.
With Silene my issue was different. She's a large, big-strided mare, and very sweet. With her I had to practice the sitting back, hands up, balancing type of ride.
Vitroso is a drop dead gorgeous four year old stallion-- and he knows it! He struts around the whole time, but is also an attentive and fun ride. His big stride let the fences come easily, and his jump? Like nothing I've ever felt before! (No offense to Zulu or Vinny!)
Somehow (and I have a sneaking suspicion it was via Facebook!) Martin and Rachel found out it was my birthday, and they very kindly took us all out for dinner in Buenos Aires! The restaurant, La Portena, was absolutely beautiful. We had to wait outside for them to open their doors for us at eight-- people around here eat a lot later than at home (and most people don't snug down into bed by nine like I do :P). The food was delicious and it was a lot of fun swapping tales with Rachel, Martin, Katie and Alice. Grilled meat is huge here, and it is GOOD. They also make a dang good sausage and a type of grilled cheese that, just thinking about, I am now craving...
All in all, not much can be improved upon my birthday this year-- my first one away from Manitoba! I gotta admit though, I'm starting to feel kinda old.... and my sore, sore muscles this morning only confirmed it! More on today's lessons tomorrow, as I'm already overdue for bed.